In September, the Department of Psychiatry at WMed will host the Indian Global Psychiatric Initiative’s (IGPI) 11th Annual International Scientific Conference.
The three-day conference, which will include an array of events, will be held September 15-17, 2019, at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus. Specific times for the conference events have not yet been determined.
Dr. Rajiv Tandon, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at WMed and the IGPI Scientific Committee, is leading efforts to organize the upcoming event. Dr. Tandon has been a longtime member of the IGPI, an organization that was established in 2010 as a way to bring together the more than 15,000 psychiatrists of Indian origin from across the world. The initiative also provides a platform for sharing scientific and scholarly knowledge, experience and the development of new collaborations to enhance mental health care.
“We want to build a sense of hope and optimism in the community about addressing the biggest public health problem in our country today,” Dr. Tandon said. “One in four people experience a mental health issue in the course of a year and one in 20 experience a serious mental health condition in the course of a year. It’s very prevalent and this conference will be a platform for us to reiterate our commitment within the Department of Psychiatry to improve and increase awareness about mental health care and be a resource in regard to that.”
The conference will include a full day of continuing education events on September 15 featuring lectures from leading psychiatrists from across the U.S., as well as India, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, among other countries.
Dr. Tandon said the final day of the conference – September 17 – will serve as the venue for the launch of the new United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Bioethics Center at WMed. Dr. Michael Redinger, co-chief of the medical school’s Program in Medical Ethics, Humanities and Law, will serve as director of the new center, which will become one of more than 100 UNESCO bioethics centers throughout the world.
According to UNESCO’s website, the organization “seeks to build peace through international cooperation in education, the sciences and culture.”
Attendees to the conference will conclude each day with the showing of international films focusing on the subject of mental health. The movie lineup for this year’s conference includes “Astu,” “Devrai,” and Kaasav,” Dr. Tandon said.
Dr. Mohan Agashe, an Indian psychiatrist and actor who plays the protagonist in each of the films, will be at WMed for the three-day conference and will take part in discussions with the audience at the conclusion of each film. The movie screenings will be open to the public, Dr. Tandon said.
Dr. Agashe will also speak from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on September 17 during Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds at the Ascension Borgess Hospital Lawrence Education Center. Psychiatry Grand Rounds will also be held on from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. on September 16 and Dr. Matcheri Keshavan, the Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and vice chair of Public Psychiatry at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will be the featured speaker.
Dr. Tandon said he is hopeful that the upcoming conference will serve to generate and increase awareness of issues related to mental health in the Kalamazoo community. He also said the conference will be a mechanism for bringing national and international expertise to Kalamazoo and raise awareness about mental health care resources in the community.